You are here

Nonna's Italian Wedding Cookies


Every Italian family has their own recipe for Italian Wedding Cookies. My family happens to have two recipes - one that belongs to my mother's family and one that belongs to my father's family. The recipe below belongs to my nonna on my father's side. It is similar to my mother's recipe but uses oil instead of butter. This recipe, like my mother's, makes a ton of cookies. The cookies freeze really well so I often make a whole recipe- you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Makes at least 10 dozen cookies




For the cookie dough:

  •     2-1/2 cups sugar
  •     2 cups vegetable oil
  •     12 large eggs
  •     1 tablespoon vanilla
  •     2 tablespoons anise flavoring
  •     11 cups all-purpose flour
  •     7 teaspoons baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1/2 cup orange juice
  •     2 tablespoon orange zest

For the icing:

  •     Powdered sugar
  •     Milk
  •     Vanilla or other flavorings



Step 1: Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar gradually and blend well. Gradually add oil while beating. Add flavorings.

Step 2: Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour and orange juice alternately to egg mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate overnight.

Step 3: Roll out and shaped into braids or knots.

Step 4: Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 350 degree until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Do not over bake.

Step 5: Ice cookies with powdered sugar icing.



How many does this recipe make? Kind of important to know.

Hi Cheryl, Thanks for your comment. It's a pretty big recipe and makes alot. Depending on the size of your cookie, you can get well over 100 from just one recipe. I intentionally omitted the number of cookies from the recipe because I don't know exact number but the next time I make them, I'll count them and add the number to the recipe.

what kind of oil? veg?

Yes, vegetable oil is the kind that my grandmother used. I've updated the recipe. Thanks for asking.

I saw that you can freeze these, can you freeze them with the frosting on them or should you wait to frost till after them. I am making them for a wedding and want to get a little ahead. Thanks

Hi Nancy, You can freeze them either way, with the icing or without the icing. It's probably best to freeze without the icing (especially if you plan to decorate them with any sugar colored sprinkles). I find that the colored sprinkles don't freeze well. Just take the cookies out of the freezer a day or two before your event and ice them. And if decide to freeze them with the icing, just make sure the icing is totally dry before you pack them in any containers.

How thick do you roll dough & do you cut into strips (how long) to form braids? Also could they be round cookies? Thank you, making for Grandsons Wedding Feb. 14th

Hi Patty, I have pictures on how to roll them on another recipe. Let me know if these pictures help. Basically our family makes the cookie about 3 inches long in a twist. You can also make them round by bringing each end of your twist together and making a circle. Good luck and let me know how they come out. Congrats on your grandson's upcoming nuptials. Cheryl

getting ready for my daughters wedding a Grandinetti wedding, funny I came across our- ( your name!)

Best wishes Angela on your daughter's wedding. Thanks for visiting my website.

Hello, Thank you for sharing your recipe. I was wondering how long you bake the cookies. Thank you

Hi Paula, I've added the baking time to the recipe. the baking time depends on the size of your cookie. i think anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes should be enough time.

since this recipe makes a lot can it be cut in half

Absolutely. Please feel free to cut the recipe in half. I do that frequently.

My favourite, thank you so much for sharing, do you put any anise in the icing?? Just a few drops or more than that?

Hi Kim, Yes I do sometimes put anise flavoring in the icing. I put about 1/2 teaspoon in a big batch of icing. and thanks for visiting my site and leaving a comment.

Hi can I substitute for the anise flavor? I cannot stand it.I was thinking of using almond but what are your thoughts?

Hi Maria, Yes, you can absolutely substitute whatever flavoring you like. I think almond flavoring would work as a nice substitute. Cheryl

Lemon oil or flavoring also works nicely!!

Can I substitute butter for the oil?

I've never substituted butter for oil in this particular recipe. I do have another recipe that uses butter instead of oil. I tend to use the butter recipe more often than the oil recipe.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.